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7 December 1989
Franz Liszt. Vol. II: The Weimar Years 1848-1861 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 626 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 571 15322 4
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Franz Liszt: A Chronicle of his Life in Pictures and Documents 
by Ernst Burger, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Princeton, 358 pp., £45, October 1989, 0 691 09133 1
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... documents and other memorabilia, many of them previously unpublished. The accompanying commentary is at times rather bland, but the documents reproduced (the lengthy ones with translations by StewartSpencer) are well chosen to illustrate the man and his aesthetic attitudes. The goal of the book, Alfred Brendel says in his Foreword, is to allow readers ‘to paint their own portrait of Liszt ...

Impervious to Draughts

Rosemary Hill: Das englische Haus

22 May 2008
The English House 
by Hermann Muthesius, edited by Dennis Sharp, translated by Janet Seligman and Stewart Spencer.
Frances Lincoln, 699 pp., £125, June 2007, 978 0 7112 2688 3
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... 19th-century house was rehabilitated and now at last the English can read its greatest apologist in his entirety. Frances Lincoln has produced a beautiful typographic facsimile of the original and StewartSpencer has continued the late Janet Seligman’s translation with equal skill, to a standard far higher than many more overtly literary books receive. The totality, however, makes for salutary as ...

The Innocence Campaign

Isabel Hull: The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’

2 February 2017
‘Lusitania’: The Cultural History of a Catastrophe 
by Willi Jasper, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 233 pp., £18.99, September 2016, 978 0 300 22138 1
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... Heinrich August Winkler, the ‘revisionist view of the outbreak of the war encourages the tendency to adopt a nationally apologetic and, hence, uncritical understanding of German history’. StewartSpencer’s excellent translation allows Anglophone readers to be privy to a German discussion made necessary partly by historiographical trends currently popular in the English-speaking world. The ...
11 February 1993
Wagner in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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Wagner: Race and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, translated by John Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... death Cosima and then her daughter-in-law Winifred all too effectively held court alone, as Syberberg’s chilling cinematic portrait of her attests. Hitler and Richard Strauss, Toscanini and Houston Stewart Chamberlain came there, as well as a whole host of lesser figures, sycophants, geniuses, philosophers, charlatans, and professional Wagnerians of every stripe and calibre. One says all this about the ...

All the Necessary Attributes

Stephen Walsh: Franz Liszt, Celebrity

21 September 2016
Franz Liszt: Musician, Celebrity, Superstar 
by Oliver Hilmes, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 353 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 300 18293 4
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... Who​ was the most important 19th-century composer? Naturally, it depends on what’s meant by important: Beethoven overshadows them all, but Wagner generated more discussion, and more distaste. Few people would nominate Franz Liszt, because it’s usual to confuse importance with quality. Liszt was probably not the greatest composer of his time, yet his presence was everywhere in musical life from ...

After the Wars

Adam Tooze: Schäuble’s Realm

19 November 2015
The Age of Catastrophe: A History of the West 1914-45 
by Heinrich August Winkler, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 968 pp., £35, September 2015, 978 0 300 20489 6
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... Wolfgang Schäuble​ can’t have expected an easy ride when he moved from Germany’s Interior Ministry to its Finance Ministry on 28 October 2009. Angela Merkel’s new coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the free market Liberals, was committed to reducing the government deficit. That summer the preceding Grand Coalition – the name for a coalition involving Germany’s two largest ...
2 April 1998
... of the painting and if there is nothing to be said one should have the sense not to say it. My second choice, Hambletonian, Rubbing Down, by George Stubbs, was painted in 1800. It hangs at Mount Stewart, a National Trust property in Northern Ireland. Hambletonian was one of a string of racehorses belonging to Sir Henry Vane Tempest, a landowner from County Durham. Having already won some important ...

Their Way

José Harris: On the Origin of Altruism

12 March 2009
The Invention of Altruism: Making Moral Meanings in Victorian Britain 
by Thomas Dixon.
British Academy, 420 pp., £60, May 2008, 978 0 19 726426 3
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... Potter (later Webb). Moreover, many who could not accept the whole package of Comtean positivism still tacitly or explicitly acknowledged its intellectual inspiration. Both Darwin and Herbert Spencer, for example, appear to have worked out their own models of biological and social evolution at least in part as a response to Comte’s insistence on the universality of ‘altruism’, co-operation ...

‘Mmmmm’ not ‘Hmmm’

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn

11 September 2003
Kate Remembered 
by A. Scott Berg.
Simon and Schuster, 318 pp., £18.99, July 2003, 0 7432 0676 2
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... she has written, he thinks he may have stumbled into Sunset Boulevard. We are not surprised to learn that The Philadelphia Story is Berg’s favourite Hepburn film. He is, in a way, playing James Stewart playing the admiring reporter, and at one point Hepburn introduces him to members of her family as her biographer. Berg says, ‘Whoa,’ because at that point he was only writing an article about ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn

5 March 2015
... There isn’t any real holiday from work, and marriage itself is a matter of performance. To put it rather lumpily, the film is about whether jokes can go too far, and what happens when they do. Spencer Tracy, Hepburn’s partner in this film as in many others, is a great accomplice in the articulation of this worry, but it is on Hepburn’s face, with its multiple ages, that we see most of the ...

Cleaning up

Simon Schaffer

1 July 1982
Explaining the Unexplained: Mysteries of the Paranormal 
by Hans Eysenck and Carl Sargent.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £9.95, April 1982, 0 297 78068 9
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Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts 
by R.C. Finucane.
Junction, 292 pp., £13.50, May 1982, 0 86245 043 8
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Hauntings and Apparitions 
by Andrew Mackenzie.
Heinemann, 240 pp., £8.50, June 1982, 0 434 44051 5
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Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences 
by Susan Blackmore.
Heinemann, 270 pp., £8.50, June 1982, 0 434 07470 5
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... soon attracted influential support: from the future Tory prime minister Arthur Balfour, from J.J. Thomson (discoverer of the electron) and from the distinguished physicists Oliver Lodge and Balfour Stewart. Since then the links between scientific heroes and psychical research have always been close. In his foreword to the two books, by Mackenzie and Blackmore, published to celebrate the Society’s ...

Squealing to Survive

John Lahr: Clancy was here

19 July 2018
Black Sunset: Hollywood Sex, Lies, Glamour, Betrayal and Raging Egos 
by Clancy Sigal.
Icon, 352 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 1 78578 439 2
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The London Lover: My Weekend that Lasted Thirty Years 
by Clancy Sigal.
Bloomsbury, 274 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 1 4088 8580 2
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... lisp, ever so quietly. “She does it all the time. Pisses on us.”’ On the other hand, there’s no doubt that Clancy knows the back lots and the business. For his B-list screenwriting client Stewart Stern, Clancy pulled off a coup by getting him big bucks and a big assignment: Rebel without a Cause. Afterwards, according to Clancy, Jack Warner pushed him against the wall – ‘He positively ...
9 March 1995
... eventually leads to its timely collapse. The resignations are the best-publicised outgrowth of governmental decay. The litany of names reads like the cast-list of some bizarre Antipodean soap: Allan Stewart, wielder of the pick-axe; Michael Mates, sender of the famous watch; Norman Lamont, evictor (with some help from the tax-payer) of the tenant with too colourful a professional life; Patrick Nicholls ...

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